A Touch of Evil- A Supernatural RP (Action)
" Unfortunately it seems that I was right. Throughout the long years of my quest, throughout the endless months and weeks wandering the face of this wretched Earth, I have learned the truth. Tidbits of lore, eye witness accounts, and a personal experience that has shaken me to the very core have left no other viable conclusion. They exist and they have awakened...."
Exerpt from the personal journal of Vladamir Prokofski
March 19th, 1577
Robin (Bane_of_Kings): It took you almost 3 months to get from your stomping grounds in central England to the mighty city of Rome. Along the way you have fought off bandits and cutthroats, assisted a small village inn keeper in northern France with a haunting, and even the encountered an odd vampire. It was this experience that troubled you. This vampire came upon your campsite in the beginning hours of twilight, enough sun shining just over the horizon that you would have thought yourself safe. Its behavior was brazen, careless, and totally out of character for a Vampire of the Black Court. As you journeyed onward, growing ever closer to the Holy City, you have noticed more an more signs of the presence of the supernatural, much more then you would have thought normal. Faerie rings, Troll footprints, and even an clump of Laran La Rusan fur, freshly pulled 6 nights before the full moon. All the signs you are seeing put you on edge and you feel that something is brewing. You have now been in Rome for almost 2 weeks and every inquiry you have made about Vladamir Prokofski has been a dead end. You find yourself sitting in the common room of the inn you have taken up residence in, frustration fueling the anxiety you are feeling. You wonder what to do next and you think it odd that such a man would summon other Hunters to this city and then leave no avenue of contact. As you sit brooding, scowling into the mug of mead that you have been nursing, a woman enters the common room. She wears simple clothing, but her stance and the odd staff that she carries catch your eye. It doesn't surprise you that her eyes scan the common room, coming to rest on you. She makes her way in your direction, clearly intent on speaking with you.
Freja (Karak the Unfaithful): Your journeys had taken you to the small town of Vilijandi in northern Lithuania, where you had been talking to a small group of pagans hidden within the society there. You found that this group were decendents of a viking raiding party that had made land on the coast and had some how become stranded there. They kept the old ways alive in their homes, but feared prosecution by the ever expanding reach of the Catholic Church. You had been in the town for about 3 weeks, before you heard mention of the name Vladamir Prokofski. A fellow Hunter and his wife, were passing through, tracking a pack of Lycanthropes responsible for several murders and massacres between here and a small village in northern Germany. This man, Heinrick Geunter, told you of Prokofski gathering Hunters in Rome. Bidding your good byes to the people you had met here, you packed your belongings and undertook the grueling 1700 mile journey to Rome. 2 and a half months later, tired and weary you found yourself in the beautiful city of Rome. Despite the grandeur around you you are a woman on a mission and you began to seek out this Vladamir. Your inquiries have all been met with no success. After a week in the city your are about to give up hope, but you find an apothecary, an out of the way, unmarked shop, deep within the city. She tells you that she has heard the name Vladamir Prokofski, but that she believed him to be dead. However, your first true lead materializes when she tells you that about a week before you came in, a young English man was in her shop, asking the same questions and gives you the name of the inn he had mentioned during his conversation with her. Making your way across the city, you find the inn and enter the common room. Taking in the handful of people eating and drinkin there you see a young man, dressed in a green shirt and a leather jerkin, he wears a longsword on his hip, and watches the room with a wary air. This must be the young man the apothecary mentioned. Approach him and see if he has found out anything about Prokofski.
Dragomir (yoyoyo12365): It has been two months since you heard the name Vladamir Prokofski mentioned in that small tavern in Nordenham, Germany. Over the course of your 1000 mile trek you have come across several villages that have needed your help. In Ingolstad you took the head of a rampaging adolescent troll that had been plaguing the outlying farms of the city. Outside of Mantua, Italy, you captured a single Vampire of the White Court, before killing it it told you that supernatural activity in its feeding grounds had increased. This confirmed the observations that you made during the course of your journey. Tracks and signs of the supernatural predators you Hunt had been increasing in frequency as you moved closer to your destination. Obviously whatever Prokofski has gotten involved in it is a storm brewing the likes of which you have never seen. As you enter into the great city of Rome you head directly to the house of Giovanni Mancinni, an old family friend, as well as being from an old Hunting family, he has word of Vladamir. He knows that he is in the city but he does not know where. It seems that you are going to have to do a little digging. After dropping your belongings and stabling your horse in Mancinni's saddle, you head out into the city.
Sebastian (Tyranno the Destroyer): Your dedication to the Church and your responsibilities as a Paladin have taken you far afield from that fateful little village a decade ago. As you sit in a chapel in a little village, nestled in the foot hills of the Ural mountains, you find yourself deep in prayer. The last few weeks have been hellish for you as you toiled to track and kill the monster that threatened this village. Its movements continued to elude you, but in the end you found it. One night as you stood watch over the sleepy village you heard a voice, calling out the name of the inn keepers wife and you watched her, as she wandered out into the surrounding forrest, as if in a trance. You caught up, found her kneeling in a clearing with a knife in her hand, the blade pressed against her breast. Standing over her you saw the form of a man, though wreathed in the shadow of the forrest. Watching in horror you saw the man speak, the innkeepers voice coming from its distended throat, its jaw unhinging to several times its normal size, razor sharp teeth lining the gaping maw. Roaring a challenge you rushed forward, blades flashing. In a fight that left you wounded, left arm hanging useless at your side, you defeated the beast, though its name or what manner of creature it was you never learned, your sword protruding from its back, its spine severed. As you reflected upon this event, lost deep in the meditation of prayer, you find yourself disturbed, another presence with you in the Chapel. You find that it is the village priest, Maron, with a letter clutched in his hand. The letter is for you, somehow, the sender knew of your presence in this backwater village. The letter was sealed with the symbol of the Eye of Thoth, the penmanship one that you recognize. Quickly you pack your belongings and set out on horse back. In a torturous journey that takes you the better part of 6 months, you find yourself entering the City of Rome on a direct path to the Il Gesu, home of the Jesuits, and your contact, Brother Benetio Giordano.
Eira (Lord Ramo): Word came as your family sat down to dinner. Father Benedict, your parish priest came calling, a letter clutched in his fist. You watched as your father was taken aback by the symbol that sealed the letter, you barely had the opportunity to glimpse it as your father clutched it in his powerful fist, before he stood and left the table. For almost an hour he and Father Benedict sat locked in his study, slightly raised voices coming from behind its oaken surface, before you were summoned to his side. He told that one of his contacts, a Jesuit monk in Rome, had notified him that the notorious Hunter, Vladamir Prokofski, had resurfaced after being missing for close to 20 years. He also told you that despite his better judgement, he was sending you to answer Prokofski's call for assistance. Satified with the result Father Benedict left the room to return to his chapel, but as you turned to leave your father caought you by the arm. Turning to face him, you find his steely grey eyes full of a mixture of worry and anger, "My daughter. Though I send you to aid the man claiming to be Vladamir, I have doubts that this man is who he claims to be. Be wary daughter, find out the truth. Go to Rome, meet with Brother Benetio Giordano at the Il Gesu, find out what he knows and meet with the man claiming to be Prokofski if you can." With that you packed a bag and spent the next month traveling the Holy City. Along the way you have seen signs of increased supernatural activity, the predatory beasts of the unnatural world more evident, their tracks and signs more numerous. You can tell that something is stirring these beasts to increased activity, the very air causing the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up even in the strongest daylight. Making all haste you find yourself entering the City or Rome, its grandeur lost on you in the face of your driven purpose, and without stopping to find food or rest or even to wipe the dust of travel from your boots and cloak you seek out the Il Gesu, mounting the stairs that lead to the stout oaken door at the front you wonder what this Brother Giordano has to tell you.
Bishop Sunesen (Anilar): It is through your contacts in the King's Court that you heard of Prokofski's return to the scene. What you have heard of the man is legendary, but according to everything you have heard he is supposed to be dead. Despite the fact that you have your reservations about the validity of the claim, you pack your bags and head off across land to the great city of Rome. Over the course of the three month journey that takes you from Copenhagen to Rome you can't help but pick up signs of increased superanatural and this is the reason that your journey took you a full month longer than it should have. You passed through several towns and villages, plagued by supernatural threats and it is not in your nature to turn aside from those who need aid. In Harburg, a small hamlet outside the city of Hamburg, you assisted a local priest in the excommunication of a Wraith that had taken possession of a 12 year old girl. In the City of Jenbach in Austira, you waylaid to wipe out a nest of Fir Darrig, a particularly nasty malicious Fae, that kills through pracitcal jokes and accidents, delighting in the pain and suffering they cause. In the Village of Carpi, Italy, you came across several Wardens of the Mage's Council hunting a human Sorcerer that had taken over the minds of over a dozen of the village's young people, turning them into a cult that served his every twisted desire. Despite the tension between the groups, the Wardens recognized the need for assistance. Your Healing abilities crucial in turning the thralls away from their master. All of these experiences, all so close together has put you on edge. You feel a storm is brewing and can't help but thing that Prokofski has stumbled upon something of grave importance. You have now been in Rome for 3 days, all your inquiries into Vladamir's location have met with little success. It is as if by chance or divine providence that you have come to the Northwest side of the city, to the massive edifice that is the Il Gesu. As you take in the imposing structure you watch as a man, resplendant in fine clothes of blue and white, symbols of the Catholic faith adorning his cloak and gloves, simple twin blades strapped to his back mounts the stairs into the Cathedral. Something about his appearance and posture calls to you. Curiosity piqued you move to follow.
Edward (Santaire): Your quest, whether it be for justice or vengence, lead you deep into the highlands of Scotland, to the small village of Thruso on the very Northern tip of the British Isles. Here with the help of a local contact, and old family friend, Carson Macpherson, you finally manage to track down and kill one of the last three remaining Vampires of the Coven that masacared your family. As you sit in the small out of the way pub that Macphereson owns, you two get to talking about old tales, hunts that both went well and that ended in tragedy. It is from Macpherson that you hear of Vladamir's return. Well into his 6th ale, Macpherson, unsteady on his feet, his speech a bit slurred, relates that he had recieved a message from a friend of his in Wales. Macpherson laughs about it and says that the message contained the most unbelievable news. He laughs, his disbelief evident, and tells you that his friend said that Vladamir had returned to the stage looking for Hunters to assist him in Rome. After 20 years of silence, 20 years of being missing, Macpherson raves that it is impossible. He is certain that Vladamir is dead and that some kook is trying to cash in on the mans name and legend. Though you laugh, more than a few ales passed your lips as well, you can't help but continue to think on the news, however unbelievable it might be. Even the next morning you cannot shake the feeling that you get when you think on Prokofski's return. You resolve to undertake the great journey to Rome to see for yourself. The journey takes you the better part of three months and along the way you can't help but notice that the supernatural is more active, the closer you get to rome. Though few things hinder your journey, every village you pass though has tales of the strange and inexplicable. Though no deaths have occured, the reports you here indicate Fae activity, a passing pair of hunting Vetala, a Spirit Manifestions in numbers that you have a hard time believing. Each months old by the time you pass through, so you need not pause in your journey, but it all puts you on edge. The beasts of the unnatural world are not acting in the way you are used to, it seems that Prokofski may have stumbled onto something, and your desire to speak with the legendary hunter causes you to move ever faster toward Rome. You have know been in the city for 1 week, staying in the home of one of your Grandfather's old friends, Abramo De Luca, and though he has heard that Vladamir is supposed to be in the city he does not know where. All of your questions meet with the same answer, that no one knows anything about Vladamir's plans or location. Your frustration is mounting and as you sit in a cafe, just down from De Luca's home, brooding into your glass of wine, you can't help but think that this was a fools errand.
Šimon (Jackinator): Your wanderings have taken you around most of Europe, but by some strange coincidence it is in your homeland that you here of Prokofski's return. Your wanderlust, a deep engrained need to keep moving, found itself stilled and the desire to return to the place of your birth and former life became a notion you could not resist. As you traversed the streets of your childhood home, you found that it did not hold the same vibrancy that it did for you in your former life, every familiar place a harsh reminder of what you have lost. The more you walk, the more you notice that things are out of place. Goosebumps raise on your arms, a chill runs up and down your spine, and you can't shake the feeling that you are being watched. Feeling it best you get off the street before full dark, you take a room at a near by inn. It is in the common room of that inn that you come across a fellow Hunter who recognizes you for what you are. Taking a seat across from you he will tell you of the increased amount of supernatural activity. Swapping stories it will immediately become evident that things are definitely becoming more dangerous, the beasts of the night seemingly having gone into overdrive. He will tell you that he heard a rumor, something that has passed from mouth to ear for sometime, so he does not know the validity of it, but he tells you that he has heard that the great Hunter Vladamir Prokofski has popped back up and despite rumors that he was dead, he is gathering Hunters in Rome. Why Vladamir was gathering Hunters, the man could not say, but he tells you that he wants nothing to do with it. You know that Quinn often spoke of other Hunters and that that name Vladamir Prokofski was one that he mentioned often, sometimes bordering on reverence. Despite the fact that he is calling for the gathering in the seat of the Holy Church, you put aside your reservations and set out for Rome the next morning, the chance to meet this Vladamir one you cannot pass up. You have been in Rome now for 4 days and most of your inquires have been met with little information. You happened to wander into an out of the way rare book shop, its owner rumored to be knowledgeable in the occult, and in speaking to him, though your Italian is a bit rusty, you are able to discern that Vladamir is in the city, but that he does not know where. He tells you to go speak with a man by the name of Abramo De Luca, a local contact for Hunters passing through Rome, that perhaps he would be able to tell you more. You are beginning to get frustrated, annoyed at the fact that this man claiming to be Vladamir would call Hunters to this City, then remain elusive. Head toward the address the book shop owner gave you, seeing that this is your only lead.
Henry (HOGGLORD): Your journeys, like most Hunters, have taken you far from home and it is in the City of Aitoliko, Greece that you first heard whisperings that the great Vladamir Prokofski had resurfaced. Just about anywhere a Hunter roams there are those that know of their calling, and for you it was no different. You had taken up residence in a small room over a friendly apothecaries shop, a man named Abiron, you had spent 6 weeks tracking and hunting a Gorgon. Unlike the mythlogical creatures of the past these vicious monsters can take human form, their magic worked through the use of snake's blood and skin, some of the more powerful ones can shape shift into giant snakes, giving rise to the ancient myths of Medusa and her sisters. They kill by turning their victim to stone, then sapping their life force for close to a decade, creating an eerie garden of 10-12 statues from which it will feed slowly. Unfortunately they only come out to hunt and capture their victims once every 25 to 30 years and all indications are that this particular beast has finished its hunt, as there are a total of 11 people missing from the area. Anger slowly consumes you as the days go by without a trace of your quarry and you are forced to relent, forced to admit the fact that this time the monster got away. As you ate supper with Abiron one evening he tells you that he recieved a letter from a friend of his in Rome. He hands you the scrap of parchement, on the back of which is embossed the Eye of Thoth. As you read, your heavy heart lightens, Abiron's friend, Vincenzo Skilini, indicates that he is now working closely with the organization housing Vladamir and that the venerated Hunter is calling those of the trade to meet him in Rome. Wishing to forget your experiences here and clutching to the thought that you will get to meet and work with the Hunter that trained your father and your uncle, you charter a ship to Italy. You have now been in the City of Rome for three weeks and the address that Vincenzo provided in the letter is a vacant warehouse on the river Tiber. All your inquiries have been met with the same lack of knowledge. Those you speak to either have never heard of Vladamir or have heard nothing save the fact that he is supposed to be somewhere in the city. As you return to the inn in which you have taken up lodging, you pass by a small restaraunt. Your belly rumbling in hunger you go in. As you take in the mostly empty room, you see that in one corner sits a brooding man, wearing huntsmans clothing of deep greens and browns, a longsword strapped to his left thigh, and if you didn't know better he looked like an Irishman. There is something familiar in the way he holds himself, eyes constantly darting around the room, the makes you think that he might be a Hunter himself, as you found out in your search that there seem to be many Hunter's in the city at the moment. Perhaps this lone stranger may have information that may be helpful.
Livoc (Romero's Own): It was in the City of Mertola, Portugal, you and another Hunter, Javier Borbinhas, a local man, had been Hunting a pair of rogue Hexenwulf. This pair, lovers, had gone mad with the feeling of power that their transformation afforded them and had found that hunting men much better sport than any of the local game. You and Borbinhas managed to track the Hexenwulf to their layer deep in the Guadiana forrest. Unfortunately the preternatural senses of your prey meant that they knew of your presence well before you knew of theirs and as dusk began to fall in the forrest they attacked. Borbinhas was killed instantly, his throat ripped out by a pair of powerful jaws. In an instant, your spell was cast, a dozen coproreal copies of yourself appearing to confuse the enemy allowing you to stab one through the spine with your silver dagger. In your triumph though your concentration wavered and the beast's mate rushed you, jaws clamping onto your leg, pulling you to the ground. The last thing you remember before you fall to blackness was an arrow erupting from the side of the beasts head and its dead weight falling ontop of you. You awoke in an unfamiliar room, noise in the corner of the room catching your attention. A young woman, folding clean bandages turns and catches your eye and in response to your question tells you that a man, dressed in woodland garb, carrying a bow of curious make, dropped you off on the door step of the abby you now rest in. She also tells you that he left a cryptic message, something about a man named Vladamir Prokofski calling for aid in the city of Rome. This news catches you by surprise, for you believed the man dead. It takes several weeks for your leg to heal properly, but as soon as it does you undertake the journey to the Holy City. You have just arrived in the city and have decided to head toward the home of a local contact for the Mage's Council, an Ectomancer by the name of Noemi Moretti, hoping that she may have information on Vladamir's location.
Cormac (Serpion5): Your travels have taken you to across the mediteranean researching a new beast that you encountered in the very southern reaches of Spain. You were assisting a village that you had taken notice of after hearing reports that people were going missing in the night and other people changing personalities completely, becoming violent or just taking off into the night. Taking up residence in a tall bell tower so that you could get a good view of the surrounding village, you watched as what appeared to be a firefly flit in through an open window across the street. It only caught your attention because it was the only moving thing in the deep hours of the night. Nothing else happened so as the hours passed your eyes grew heavy and you began to doze at your post. It was at daybreak that a commotion caught your attention. The man of the house, crashed through the front door of his home, intent on walking to the docks. His wife, in her confusion begged him to stop, but he refused. Stoicly walking on as if he did not hear her. Rushing to follow you booked passage on the same boat as the man and as you set sail you learned that the ship was heading across the Alboran Sea to Algiers. Your curiosity piqued you spent the two day journey watching the man that had so inexplicably left Torrevieja. In the two days that you watched him his condition deteriorated rapidly. The crew of the ship feared an illness, but to you he showed all the signs of being fed on by a vampire. Ashen skin, blood shot eyes, emaciated appearance. Despite your subtle investigation you found no signs of a vampire on board. Pulling into the busy port city of Algiers, you watched as the man stumbled down the gangplank of the ship, only to collapse at the bottom. Rushing to his side you arrive just in time to watch a large firefly shaped insect fly out of his mouth. You track it with your eyes as it disappears into an alley. The man, obviously dead, no longer catches your curiosity, but this wierd insect does. Rushing down the alley you find no insect, but in searching the tracks on the dusty ground you find a set of mansized footprints, bare footed in contrast to all the shoeprints, that seemingly started as if the person they belonged to suddenly appeared out of thin air. Shaken by the experience, but more than a little curious, you search out a nearby healer, a man named Mulogo, who thankfully speaks a bit of french. In asking about local lore, explaining the experience you just had, Mulogo tells you of the Adze. He tells you that they are a vampiric race that in their insect form have the power to possess a man's soul, feeding off his life blood even as they use his body. He says that when strong enough they are able to take human form to walk among their prey at will. Of course you ask him how to kill such a beast and Mugolo tells you that the only way to kill an Adze is to starve it to death. He says they can be lured in with coconut water and palm oil, things it finds a delicacy, and trapped in a jar or vial. The Adze will slowly waste away. Thanking Mugolo for his information you turn to leave, but he stops you. He asks you if you are heading to Rome and dismissing your answer he hands you a small pouch tied with a silver string. He tells you that the pouch is for his friend, a man named Vladamir Prokofski. He tells you that he would answer Prokofski's summons himself, but he fears to make the journey at his age. He asks you to give the pouch to Prokofski if you make it to the Holy City. You accede to his request and intrigued by the notion of meeting the famous Hunter you book purchase on the next ship to italy. You have just arrived in Rome, weary from your travels you decide to head to the home of a local contact for the Mage's Council, an Ectomancer by the name of Noemi Moretti, thinking her home is as good a place to start as any.
Alexander (Lord of the Night): Counting the coin from your most recent adventure you ride out of the town of Pila, Poland. Having succesfully rid the village of a Bas Celik, a powerful Fae of the Unseelie court, the Bas Celik has found that he can gain much veneration from the superstitious as his appearance closely resembles that of the Angels spoken about in the Christian Bible. He appears as a winged man, but he feeds off of the adulation he recieves, slowly sapping away the lifeforce of those venerating him. The town had experienced 10 deaths, people just dropping dead at the man's feet as he used his powerful Fae magic to heal the sick and preform 'miracles' for his congregation. The local priest, powerless to intervene sent out a plee for help through the channels of the church, one that you happened to hear about in passing. Making your way to the village, you consulted with the priest, who thankfully asked few questions of your background. He told you that the 'Angel' had demanded that anything made of iron be removed from the church and he would drink nothing but plain water given to him by those that came to petition him. Knowing that the detestation of iron pointed to the creature being one of the fae, you snuck into the back of the church as the 'angel' spoke to his people. You watched as the congregation seemed to age the more he spoke. Rushing forward, Tulwar in hand, you attacked before the creature could react, one of its wings dropping to the ground, severed from its body by the magical touch of your blade. In its pain its visage changed from the angelic beauty it once displayed to one sinister and feral. Thought it tried to retreat it was cornered by the priest who valiantly rushed forward and iron candlestick in his hands. At the touch of iron the beasts flesh erupted into red welts and white flame, cornered between the two of you it did not last long. As it died, those on the verge of death regained their color, the sapping presence of the Fae lifted from them. Enduring the babbling and adulation that the townspeople lavished on you, you gladly collected the purse of coin that they shoved into your hands. It would be more than enough to fund the remainder of your journey towards Rome, for you too had heard whispers in taverns about the return of Vladamir Prokofski and his call for Hunters to join him in Rome. Weather worn and weary you finally made your way into the City of Rome and have now been there for 6 days. Your inquires in the local places Hunters are known to congregate, apothecaries, out of the way taverns, and old bookstores have yeilded no results, the most you have learned is that there are apparently many other Hunters in the city, all looking for Prokofski. Agitation is starting to grip you and you are wondering if this journey was worth your time.
Pieter (deathbringer): You have spent the last three months in the Maroilles Abbey in Northern France. You felt compelled to come here, but once you arrived, it seemed that your services as a Knight were not required. You knew that your journey here was somehow influenced and for several weeks you were at the ready, a sense of foreboding haunting your steps around the hallowed ground around you. But as the time passed, the quiet atmosphere, and the sense of peace that you began to feel put you at ease. Giving into it you spent a week in quiet reflection, turning your mind inward. It was then that the muse took you, the urge to paint, to pick your brushes and work color on the canvas became an longing deep that you returned to your spartan room from the small chapel in the beautiful garden the monks kept on the grounds. For four days you painted, the image of a face and a skyline emerging from the blank canvas like watching the scene emerge out of a deep fog, your hand guided by a force outside yourself. Setting your brush to oneside, you stared in shock at the face that was on the canvas. Though much older, it could have been no other man but Vladamir Prokofski, a man he had met once, decades ago but a legend among those who stood against the forces of darkness. The scene behind the man you also recognize, the Via della Conciliazione, a familiar street, in the far distance he could make out the Holy Basillica. Not seconds after you finished did the urge to begin travelling take you. Donning your armor, taking up the mighty blade Ammorochious from the stand where it rested, you bid farewell to the monks of the abbey. A little over a month later you find yourself entering the northern part of the City of Rome. There is something about being in this city that rejuvenates you, a presence, a warm glow just on the edge of your vision, as if something or someone watched over you. You are not suprised when a man, dressed in the simple brown habit of a friar appears at your stirrup, keeping pace with your slowly walking horse. He says nothing at first but hands you a small card on the back of which is the symbol for the Knights of Pythias, the Eye of Thoth. A slow smile creeps across your face. It appears that the servants of the vatican were awaiting your arrival. The friar looks up at you and with a simple request that you follow, heads of into the crowd.
Johan (Rems): You have spent most of the last year hiking your way through the Swiss Alps. Your desire to increase your knowledge of the workings of gun powder and its uses in Alchemy have compelled you to seek out the originators of the magical practice, the elusive Seelie Fae the Gnomes. Though you know that interaction with the Fae of any ilk is dangerous, the Gnomes are the most likely to work with a human mage as they find humans and their reckless ingenuity facinating. It takes you the better part of 3 months to track down a small village of the diminutive creatures and another 3 weeks to earn their trust. But finally, their leader, Egan Del, decides that you are worth keeping around, and in a display of force that almost makes you laugh they tiny leader declares that they will not kill you and eat your ears. Over the next 4 months, you exchange ideas with the highly intelligent creatures and your knowledge of the mechanics of Alchemy expands by leaps and bounds, though in the way of the fae little practical application is passed on. It is hard to follow Egan's double speak at time, and though your knowledge base has increased you will find that you will need to take sometime in your own laboratory putting the theories you have been taught into practice. Though this fact frustrates you, you find it difficult to be mad at these creatures that seem to be an incarnation of creativity made flesh. Everything they do fascinates you, despite the fact that you feel that they are just using you for your supply of honey and sugar, something that these little Fae crave but are by some strange law of their nature unable to get for themselves. In the last week of your fourth month among them, you have realized that they will tell you nothing else of their strange brand of magic and you tell Egan of your intention to leave. He shakes his head, mumbling something about the impatience of human kind, and in an offhanded remark he says something about a gathering of your kind in the City of Rome. Why he would know, or why he would care you have no clue, but he says a name, Vladamir Prokofski. You get the impression, despite the fact it is almost impossible to get a straigh answer out of the Fae, that Egan knows Vladamir personally and there is strange grudging air of respect in the way he says Vladamir's name. You of course know the name well, a legend among those who stand against the forces of darkness. Thanking your strange hosts you set off for Rome, questions burning in your breast. You have just entered the city after a grueling trek out of the mountains and a comparatively easy journey down through central Italy. You don't know where to begin, but you know of a local contact of the Mage's Council here in Rome, an Ectomancer by the name of Noemi Moretti. You figure her house is as good a place to start looking for information as any other.
[So folks in this update I want you to get a feel for how your characters think and feel and how they react to the lack of information about Prokofski despite his call for aid. With the events that occured before you arrived in Rome you can address those as events in real time before moving onto coming into Rome, or you can deal with them as a flashback, however you desire. I have for your ease color coded descriptions of characters to the color used for their name. If you find that you are pushed into an interaction with another player character you need simply compare the colors to see who that person is. If you have any questions what so ever don't hesitate to hit me up via PM, on MSN, Skype, or Facebook chat whatever you desire. I hope you all enjoy the RP!]
The beast roared it's challange and sebastian accepted. Charging forward the whole world felt as if it was going in slow-motion. The creature's mouth opened wide. Very wide. This creature was one sebastian had never encountered and had to be carful around it. The beast lunged and sebastian twirled around and brought his steel sword down onto the beast arm. The nameless creature grunted as the blade bit into his flesh and then howled when the holy water and pope's touch finally kicked in. Snarling the beast brought round his other arm and smacked sebastian's left arm with such fource it broke the bone and made it hand limply from his side. Sebastian jumped back as the beast pulled out his sword and threw it on the floor. Sebastian had observed and brought his silver sword up with his right hand and tensed his legs. The beast obviously didn't know what the paladin was planning and charged seeing that he was handicapped. Just before the creature got to him sebastain ran forward and jumped up and caught hold of a hanging branch and swung over the monster and before it could react turn around and thrust his sliver sword starit through the middle of the foul beast spine making it howl with pain and thrash around wildly. Sebastian stood there triumphant and then the adrenaline wore off and the sudden pain of his left arm kicked in and it all went black
Sebastian's eyes opened and he groaned slightly as he got up and walked the ache in his legs. That had happened six months ago and he can still remeber it which was quite odd the only monster fighht he could remember was the fight against his friend turned were-wolf and that he didn't mind because it proved to him that he could trust very few people. His legs had finally got the ache out of them and he went to the river. His camp site wasn't much just a tent with a campfire That was on the side of the road next to a river. A bandit had tried to rob him but he easily beat him and turned him away. Regular humans could deal with those soughts his job was to get those they couldn't.
The river was a natural beuty around here as he went to get water he saw a family on the other side of the river having a day out. The water over by sebastian glistned in the sun and the ripples from the familys kids just faintly reached him. His canteen filled he stood up and turned towards his horse which saw him coming and beagn to walk towards him. He had a certain way with animals Faromir being an example. He could leave him untied and the next morning he would go to the nearset water spot to find him. He never ran away and if about noon sebastain couldn't find him he would be at his camp ready to go. Sebastian patted Faromir on the neck as he finally got their and pulled out a carrot from last nights meal. The horse happily accepted and Sebastain grabbed the brush from his pack and brushed the Stallions mane. He didn't know what breed his horse was but he was white with black eyes and a grey mane and from the information he got when he got him was around about seven. His face had a black mark coming down between his eyes but over then that he was exactly how he described him.
Faromir returned to his camp and saw a small bird near his tent. Sebastian smiled as he packed up his stuff as the bird went towards the pile of food he had left it. This bird was a baby when he found it and he had raised it up until it was strong enough to go by itself. And know it followed him where ever it could. The campsite was packed up and Sebastain got on to Faromirs saddle and began to carry on riding. He was about to hit Rome where he would meet his contact and get the information he required.
He finally got to the Il Gesu, home of the Jesuits, and approached the door his horse at the street nieghing happily as kids petted him. He approached the door and entered the doors creaking open as the head of this building approached him asking how he could help. "Take me to brother Benetio Giordano" He asked with a tone that demanded that the priest take him to his informant and with out another word said he began to go deeper into the chapel.
The golden coins falling through his fingers and into the small leather purse that he kept at his belt Alexander inhaled the scent of liquor, blood and other bodily fluids that pervaded the tavern on the outskirts of Rome. Places like this were like poison to the clergy, they never came in unless they needed something, and they provided cheap rooms and did not ask questions as the people who tended to rent their rooms did not answer questions well. Alexander's gaze and weapon both kept any unwelcome visitors away, and any who were too stupid to see his raptor-glare or obviously enchanted blade were immediately put off by the aura he gave off, one of hostility and barely-restrained killing-lust. There was always something else to hunt, another monster preying on the innocent, not that the plight of the innocent moved him at all. Rather it was hatred of the supernatural that moved him to murder any magical creature that crossed his path, hostile or no. Monsters were monsters, and all were either dangerous or would become dangerous given the chance.
The memory of his last hunt was still fresh, he could remember every hunt he'd ever been on in stark detail. The Bas Celik creature that had infiltrated a town and posed as an Angel to dupe the stupid into serving it. Alexander had heard about it through church channels, he normally avoided anything to do with the weak-willed Church that brought fanaticism and religion into the hunt, but this hunt had sounded interesting. An Angel apparantely killing people in Poland, a chance to kill an Angel had been too good to pass up, even with the risk of Church interferance. After days of travel on his Horse, he had not bothered to name the mount as most of his mounts tended to die quickly, he had arrived in the town of Pila. Keeping out of sight for the most part, the townspeople were convinced of the Angel and he was well known enough to monsters that if the Angel saw him or heard about the armoured man with tattoos he might send his ignorant followers after him.
The priest who had put out the call for help was an overweight, bald and weak-chinned man, yet he was solid enough that he had stayed rather than flee like most priests would. Alexander had listened as the priest described the ten deaths that had already occured, his lack of empathy must have shown on his face or in his eyes as the priest became uncomfortable around him after that and made no attempt to ingratiate himself with the Hunter, which was a smart move on his part. Alexander had quickly identified the creature as a Bas Celik from the description of a winged man who disdained iron and made sure to carefully regulate what he ate and drank, an Unseelie Fae that was visually close enough to an Angel that they could pass for them to those who didn't know better. A sufficiently religious person would probably be able to tell the difference, which was probably why the priest had not been fooled.
He had quickly devised a plan, setting himself up in the rafters of the Church building and waiting for the Bas Celik to begin a sermon. He had to make sure that the townspeople saw the true face of the monster in their midst, otherwise once it was dead the people would assume the heathen mage had killed their beloved angel and attack him. Alexander would have had no problem with cutting his way out of the town and through anyone stupid enough to attack him, but such a thing would draw the attention of the Mage's Council to him and he had no desire to be on their radar again. Sure enough after four hours of waiting the Bas Celik arrived, it fit the description of their subspecies to a T. A tall handsomely chiseled man with bright wings made of light wearing a suit of armor that seemed to be made of glass, but it was not glass to one who knew what to look for. It was made of ice. A definite Unseelie Fae, those aligned closer to evil deeds and maliciousness. Alexander had scoffed then and he scoffed once more, the Seelie Court were just as bad, the only difference was they put on a better public face and tricked more fools into dealing with them.
As soon as the Bas Celik had started speaking Alexander had dropped from the rafters, his Tulwar blade in hand and sliced through the monster's right wing. His sword's glowing-blue blade crackled with electricity as it carved through the wing, severing it with ease. The creature howled as its wound spurted blood, blood was that a bluish-black and crystallised soon after hitting the ground. It had turned around and revealed its true face, the etheric human visage changing into that of a snarling beast that appeared almost reptillian. And the people had seen it too. What few were not in the creature's thrall screamed and began to flee in terror, their illusion shattered after witnessing their Angel's true face. But too many were linked to the creature and were slowly losing their life-force, their essence's feeding the monster's hunger. Alexander had parried the return blow, a claw turned to pure ice, and made a riposte that sliced open the creature's stomach. Its blood was soaking the floor and had splattered all over his chestplate.
The Bas Celik howled and turned to flee, only to scream even louder as an iron candlestick was stabbed into his body by the priest. He had more bravery than Alexander had credited him earlier, though his fear was apparant in his bulging eyes and sweat-stained robes. The creature had cursed in the Fae language and turned only to see Alexander swinging the Tulwar in a two-handed grip. That had been the last thing it saw as its head flew across the room. As its final spark gutted out the creature's icy body melted into water, its death-scream seemed to return the life to the townspeople who stood there, frozen through fear and shock. Alexander had swung his sword to remove the tainted blood and turned to the priest, requiring his agreed-upon payment. The priest had stuttered a bit but had handed over the purse quickly enough, Alexander felt the weight and judged it sufficient. He did not bother to check whether or not it was genuine, nobody was stupid enough to dare to cheat him.
The townspeople had been very quick to declare him a hero, their adulation and praise had worn thin the very second it began. Had it not been for the the aura of magic that flowed around Alexander he suspected they would have been clamoring around him, trying to touch his sword and armor or asking him to bless them. Some fools even said they would pray for him and wished him well with God's grace, Alexander had actually looked at them. His glare must have been withering because nobody said those things twice. As soon as he had received the payment he quickly left the town of Pila behind, the cheers from behind and praises in his and God's names were just annoying, especially as none of them knew his name. He was well known to monsters but humans, not so much. The purse was good enough to see him to Rome, and he would have enough left for bribes and entry fees into the darker parts of the Holy City.
After ten days of riding he had finally arrived at the gates of Rome, none had barred his way as he entered the city and had immediately begun the hunt for information. Alexander had heard the call of the great Vladamir Prokofski, one of the greatest Hunters to ever live, and was determined to join whatever great hunt that Prokofski was planning. But the search had turned up dry. Nobody had heard of any hunt being called, and nobody had heard anything about Vladamir Prokofski being in Rome. After eight hours of searching Alexander had tired from the last few days with no sleep and had rented a room in a small tavern with broken windows and the sounds of unending revelry coming from within. He had slept for six hours, twice the amount of time he normally spent sleeping, and had been sitting in the tavern in a corner booth for the last hour, delving through his thoughts in an attempt to find another source of information or another area to try. Alexander was starting to feel like the entire trip had been a waste of time, but he decided to try a few other areas and spend at least two more days in Rome. The chance of joining Vladamir Prokofski on a Hunt was too great to pass up due to mere boredom.
“Have we met?” The young man inquired earnestly.
“I just ask because you’re getting rather close and I noticed the look of surprise on your face when you saw me.”
“Us. Oh no we haven’t met. I believe you’ve met my friend though,” the grizzled man spoke with a smile and a nod over the man’s shoulder. “Who?” The man said, beginning to turn. The silver tip slammed into his midriff and he staggered back.
“Cursed fool,” I muttered as I sprang forward. “I had the perfect shot there.”
The pub owner went to stick a knife in the youth’s shoulder. The man spun with a snarl. His canines elongated and he batted the knife a way as his skin paled to an ashy grey. His brow distended, his jaw line became more visible and his eyes blackened. The Vampire pounced on the man and raised a hand, the nails turning into talons. The man didn’t shriek, a notable achievement when faced by a full on Vampire of the Black Court.
My dagger, thrown with a flick of the wrist embedded itself in the Vampire’s leg. The creature spun away from the man and hurled itself at me. I drew my sword and my left hand slipped down to reach into the pouch at my left hip. The Vampire sprang and my left hand flicked out. The silver shards embedded in its flesh and it reeled back before launching itself into a mad charge.
I didn’t move, holding my sword low. It paused, cowed by the silver running the length of my sword’s blade.
“Recognize me,” I said softly as it circled.
“Should I,” it hissed.
“Yes, you should. You killed my entire family...” Suddenly I was moving, sword held straight like a lance. I could feel the hatred burning in my chest. This beast had been one of the ones that ended my family forever. One of the oldest hunting families in Ireland butchered. “...And now I’m going to kill you.” I lunged and the Vampire dodged back, cautious around the silver blade. “There are many of us, you kill me and the rest will kill you.”
I gave a short, hard laugh. “Rest? There are only three of you left. Two when I kill you.”
My sword flickered out and plunged deep into the Vampire’s wrist. It shrieked as the silver burnt its flesh. “You will pay for that mortal,” it snarled and hurled itself forward.
I met it with sword in hand.
I knocked the first swipe away, stepped in and punched the Vampire in the face. It staggered back and I lashed out. It threw up an arm reflexively and the sword chopped deep into the muscle. The Vampire shrieked and I kicked it. It jerked its arm away, taking my sword with it and began to pounce.
“Catch,” the man yelled. I raised a hand and caught the wooden stake in my right hand.
Twisting I plunged the spike deep into the Vampire’s chest. It stared at me, pure astonishment on its face that a mere human had killed it. Paralysed, it slumped on the spike impaling its heart. I leant in close and whispered in its ear. “Don’t worry; the remainder of your miserable coven will be joining you soon.” I tore the stake free and dropped it. As the Vampire began to fall I slid my sword free of its arm.
With a cry, I spun and delivered the coup de grace. The creature collapsed and its head rolled free from its shoulder, a look of utter astonishment frozen eternally on its face.
I walked over to the innkeeper.
“I thought I told you to keep him still you old fool,” I scolded but after a moment stuck out a hand. He clasped it and we shook. “But well done all the same. It is the rare man who can resist screaming when a Black Court Vampire has them pinned.”
“Anything for Solin’s son lad,” Carson Macpherson said with a grin. “Anyway,” he said, voice and face darkening. “I couldn’t let it hurt anyone else without at least trying to stop the damned thing. Right now I’m just glad the thing is dead and I’m looking forward to sleeping in a warm bed.” I nodded agreement. “Bring me oil and a lantern. I must ensure the taint of this creature is expunged forever.”
He did so and I poured out the oil over the creature’s body. With a muttered prayer to the three Celtic goddesses of war I burnt the body to a crisp. The head I kept. Vengeance aside there was a bounty for the Vampire and I intended to hand in the head, even though I was going to refuse the reward. This was vengeance. To accept money for avenging loved ones made you a traitor. Walking to the town hall I opened the door and tossed the head on the rushes. With a curt nod I left and made my way to Carson’s pub.
There we sat and tossed back ale as he had once done with my father. We got into talking. I told him of my hunts over the eight years since my family died. At times I was affected by the melancholy that sometimes curses drunken men but at other times we were roaring with laughter.
Then, well into the sixth ale Carson stood, swaying slightly. With his speech slightly slurred he relayed to me a message from a contact of his in Wales. “The moron tells me Vladamir Prokofski is in Rome and is looking for Hunters to join him. Doesn’t the fool know that he’s been missing for twenty years? He must be long dead.” And he continued with a colourful tirade of cursing. I laughed and smiled but inside my mind was working. Vladamir? I had seen him, just a passing glance what must have been twenty two years before when I was only six. He had been talking with my father and then he left. What could have brought him back?
I left the next day, mounting my father’s horse Arturus and riding hard for the coast. The big stallion didn’t let me down and we reached the coast within a day. I got passage on a ship with a bag of coins. A small fortune. But I was impatient and it was the only boat on the coast for miles.
While at sea I contemplated the journey to the coast. There had been more supernatural activity than there had been for as long as could be remembered by the elders of the Celtic tribe I passed on the journey. I had ridden across country and encountered them in a cave in the side of a cliff. The eldest there was a mage who had lived for over two hundred years. It was he who told me that. Other than that it was uneventful. I heard stories of a werewolf coven in a small village I passed but the rumours stemmed from a dead forester who had been savaged. It was a Luop Garou. The fool had gone too deep into the forests, an area beneath the shade of a mountain, he had gone into the centre of the forest and there he had been hounded until he was torn apart on the outskirts. A Laran la Rusan or Lycanthrope would have killed indiscriminately and a Hexenwulf would have killed in a different manner therefore it had to be a Luop Garou.
To chase such a creature would have meant my death and it had done nothing but protect the borders of its territory so I moved on.
The boat arrived in France. I offered the man a pouch of silver to sail to Italy but he refused so I led Arturus from the boat’s hold and rode for Rome. Again, I heard of more supernatural activity. There was no death but reports I collected on the way spoke of increasing Fae activity, a pair of hunting Vetela and an unprecedented amount of Spirit manifestations. It was unnerving. All of these reports were a month late by the time I passed through so there was no need for me to investigate these things myself but it put me on edge. I could not feel comfortable without my hand on my sword hilt.
Vladamir suddenly appearing in Rome must have been connected to the increase in supernatural events.
I felt my inclination to see the legendary hunter escalate into a fixation. I had to find out what was causing this. It only grew as I approached Rome. I finally saw the walls of the famous city. Entering the city was simple and I quickly went to the house of one of my grandfather’s old friends, Abramo De Luca and though he had heard Vladamir was in the city he did not know where. I was there for a week and no matter whom I asked no one had a clue where Vladamir was or what he was planning.
Frustration mounting to a huge level I took to spending the day wandering the streets and the nights in the streets or on the rooftops, very little time given over to sleeping on most nights, although the latter was much rarer, being the centre of the Catholic faith Rome had guards and though most were lazy idiots there was almost always one man in the patrols who was doing what he was supposed to, scanning the city for any suspicious activities and a lone man standing, sitting or lying on rooftops definitely counted as suspicious.
I sat in the cafe just down from De Luca’s home and stared into the glass of red wine sitting on the table in front of me. As I gazed into the swirling red I could not help but think that this was turning into a fool’s errand and right now, I was the fool.
After three months of hard travelling on the road, Robin had finally arrived in Rome, the glorious city that had seen the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the reign of the Borgia dynasty, and now it would play host to hunter Robin Blake as he arrived in the town. During his travels, he not only had to deal with bandits and cutthroats by the dozen, each thinking that they could get rich by looting him only to be disposed, and sooner or later they had finally got the message - If you wanted to live, you would stay away from Robin Blake. They had got that message, at least in England anyway.
It was a similar problem in France, and Italy before he arrived in Rome. He was finally glad that he would be able to get some decent sleep for a change when he arrived in Rome, as he often went long periods without sleeping on journeys.
The first thing that Robin had done when he had arrived in France was protect a Village from a haunting, gaining the population's respect despite his young age, and an even greater respect when he refused the reward that they were going to give him. He was not like that. The villagers were poor, and he did not want to take what was left of their money, no matter how much they pressured him.
And there was one thing on the journey that troubled him. He had encountered a Vampire. And it wasn't just any creature of the night, mused Robin. It had come across his camp in the beginning of twilight, a time that had enough sun shining over his head for him to be viewed as safe. behavior was brazen, careless, and totally out of character for a Vampire of the Black Court, for that were clearly its markings. However, Robin had managed to put an end to it, and had removed its head just to make sure that it wouldn't rise again. That had to be done with several creatures of the night, Vampires especially. In his travels, he'd encountered terrifying things that rose from the grave, mindless beasts that wouldn't stop no matter how many arrows he wasted, and the only way to stop them was decapitation.
And the encounter with the odd vampire was just the beginning. As he grew closer and closer to the Holy City, Robin observed that there was more and more signs of that supernatural creatures had visited Italy recently, which was odd as he'd been informed that they often avoided Rome, due to the large amount of hunters that had been collected around that area to ensure that the Pope, Gregory XIII - remained safe from supernatural threat. He wasn't a religious man, after all - he reasoned why would God sit by and watch when people were starving, and not interfere when the rich got richer and the poor got poorer?
The list of supernatural sightings that he'd seen on his way to Rome was endless. Faerie rings, Troll Footpits and Laran La Rusan fur, freshly pulled 6 nights before the full moon. All these signs backed up his belief that trouble was brewing. Something was happening in the supernatural world, and it was Robin Blake's job to find out what. After all, he hadn't encountered any Hunters yet - although he knew that he would meet some in Rome for sure.
Two weeks after Robin first arrived in Rome, he realised that every inquiry he made about Vladamir Prokofski, the reason for his travel to the Holy City, had been a dead end. Finding himself sat in the common room of one of many of Rome's inns, frustration fueled the anxiety that he regrettably had, no matter how many times he had tried to find a lead, it had gone cold. What man would call Robin on a three month journey to a city and then just leave him there?
Well, Vladamir Prokofski, of course. It helped that Robin knew enough French and Italian to survive in the city, and he spent his free time researching the languages to gain more understanding of them.
The teenager gained a few odd looks in the inn, as people wondered why an Eighteen year old could remain silent for so long. He'd been here for a few hours now, brooding silently. That was when he caught a glimpse of a woman entering the room, wielding a staff, earning a few looks from the others in the common room. Her eyes scanned the room, clearly searching for someone. Robin grimaced when she sought him out, and began walking towards him. 'Doesn't look like she's Vladamir Prokofski, but she could know about him. She'd better know more than I do. I'd rather not have another Hunter with me though. The sooner I get to Prokofski the better.'
Location: Vilijandi, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Freja Asmund stood on the hillside over looking the small Norse village Vilijandi. She let out and sigh of relief. In this strictly christian country, these Norse people had managed to survive, although it had been difficult for them they were still here.
Freja had been here once before, over a year ago. When she had first arrived the village had been in a terrible state, but she had taught them how to survive in this new world. She had taught them; that they needed more than weapons and old Norse brawn to survive now, they had to be clever.
With her stood Heinrick Geunter, a fellow hunter. She prefered to be in the company of other Hunters, they were the only ones who could truly understand her.
"You've done alot of good for this village Freja" He said to her, observing the landscape before them.
"I was tasked to do it" she replied.
"And what now? where will you go next? he asked her.
Freja thought for a moment "Denmark, possibly" She said "I once met a Norse community there, the christians there have been moving against Pagans recently, I want to check if their alright. But, I doubt it"
Henrick looked at her, a look of sorrow. "well, If you want to spare yourself the pain I've heard rumors that Vladamir Prokofski is gathering all Hunters to him"
"Prokofski? I thought he was dead?"
Henrick shrugged his shoulders "It is only rumours. But..."
"But what Henrick?"
"Freja, times are changing. The creatures we Hunt are getting bolder, stronger. I've been tracking a pack of Lycanthropes that have been rampaging in the Commonwealth and Prussia, I haven't seen anything like this in years! You should go to Prokofski"
Freja nodded, what Henrick said is true, that have been getting stronger. "where will i find him?"
"I hear he is currently in Rome"
"Rome?" Rome was the last place a Pagan should go, it was the centre of Christianity in Europe "you know I can't go to Rome"
Henrick grinned "they won't look for you in Rome"
Freja couldn't help grinning back "very true, will you and your wife be coming?"
"If we get the mess here cleared up, maybe" he replied
Freja shook his hand "I'll see you in Rome"
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Location: Rome, Papal States. Two Months later
Freja had never been to Rome before, and despite her people's dark history with the place, it was rather stunning.
She had been here a week now, and had heard nothing of Vladamir Prokofski, absolutely nothing. Freja was quite good a tracking people and beast when she put her mind to it, but here it was almost impossible. The city had alot of life and movement in it, everyday was different, the streets were a maze of old Roman buildings, shops and people. Freja was starting to feel down, that long journey from the Commonwealth to Rome had been pointless.
However, she finally had some luck. Freja had came across an unmarked shop where the woman behind the counter had told her a young English man had also been searching for Prokofski, and even provided her with the name of the Inn he was staying at.
Freja had found the Innwith little difficulty. She entered the common room and scanned the room. Sitting at one of the tables, by himself was a young man wearing a green shirt and leather jerkin. He wore a longsword at his hip giving him away as some kind of warrior, but not quite Military. He couldn't have been anymore than 20 years old, not quite a boy but not quite a man either. She knew this was the man she'd been searching for.
Freja walked briskly to the table and sat down opposite him:
"Are you the English man searching for Prokofski?" she asked
Damn this was tedious. Cormac was not impatient by any means but the lack of any commotion at all during his watch here had been disappointing and extremely boring at the same time. Hardly the riveting experience a hunter's life was reputed for. Then again, nothing about being a hunter had even come close to what he had been expecting at all.
Here in this tower, chosen because it was the most convenient place to keep a watchful eye, Cormac had stationed himself to keep a vigilant eye open for whatever it was his quarry turned out to be. Thus far, he had observed sweet nothing and had to fight for minute at this stage simply to stay awake. A flickering light caught his attention, but whatever excitement it may have caused was quashed almost instantly. It was a firefly. Just a lost firefly flittering away in the wee hours of the morning. Before being aware that he was even dozing off, Cormac had fallen into a deep sleep.
A commotion in the street below woke the mage up as the man of the building he was staying in threw the door heavily open and began walking directly towards the docks. Despite the pleading from his wife, the man continued onward in a rather unco-ordinated fashion. Well, it wasn't the monster he had been expecting but it was certainly odd behavior. Without further delay Cormac stood himself up, taking a few moments to stretch his weary limbs before retrieving his belt, cloak and staff and rushing downstairs to see what this was all about. He exited the building and approached the sobbing woman with the best look of concern he could muster. It seemed his behavior had been like this only recently, and as such foul play was likely at hand. With nothing else to go on at this stage, he resolved to follow the man and see where this lead took him.
* * *
The target had made a beeline for the docks, and Cormac hurriedly booked himself passage on the same ship. For the next two days Cormac scrutinized every passenger and the man himself as the telltale signs of a vampire seemed to wrack the man's body. Despite the mage's suspicions, there was no sign of such a creature anywhere on board. With a mix of frustration and exasperation, Cormac spent the last few hours of the trip thrumming his fingers on a table impatiently. Maybe the man's destination would yield more answers?
* * *
The ship docked at the port city of its destination Algiers without trouble, and Cormac's mark was one of the first to shamble his way down the ramp. As Cormac made to leave after him the sounds of gasps and concerned shouts could be heard. Pushing his way through the crowd, it became apparent that the man had collapsed no sooner than taking his first step on solid ground.
'Move aside!' Cormac shouted. He rushed to the man's side and rolled him over onto his back. No sooner had he shuffled the corpse than an insect of no sort Cormac had seen crawled from the man's dead lips and took to the air. At a glimpse it resembled a firefly of sorts and quickly disappeared down a nearby alleyway.
Cormac stood and dashed after the insect, ignoring the confused protests of the people who had expected him to offer some form of help to the unfortunate soul. He felt a slight twinge of regret, not being able to spare the time to offer the people even a half-hearted explanation. In the alleyway, Cormac found no sign of the creature, but did find a set of human sized footprints that seemed to begin from nowhere and lead out of the alley. Cormac was visibly shaken by this, his hand unconsciously tightening on the grip of his staff.
Seeking to find some more concrete information on this matter, Cormac sought out the shop of a local healer named Mulogo, with whom he was fortunate enough to share a grasp of the french language. A quick discussion and interview with the man revealed the being of Cormac's interest to be an Adze, an insectoid vampire like creature able to take human form when at sufficient strength until it finds new prey. Feeding on human souls, the adze could only be killed by starving it to death.
Cormac thanked the man for his information and was about to set out once again before Mulugo stopped him.
'Have you come here because of the summons?' The elder man asked.
'Excuse me?' Cormac replied. 'I am not familiar with any summons.'
'Well regardless, may I ask a favor of you?' Mulogo continued. 'Would you take this to my friend, Vladamir Prokofski please?'
Cormac accepted the item, a small pouch with a silver string, with a stunned silence. The name of Vladamir Prokofski was legendary among hunters, one of the greatest of their kind. The man had long been thought dead, but if he had issued a summons then Cormac would answer, even in he had only learned of it indirectly.
'I will do this.' Cormac said, and bade the healer farewell.
* * *
One long ship passage later saw the elementalist arriving in Rome. Weary of travelling with limited success at his hunt, he resolved to look up a familiar friendly face and seek accommodation. A brisk walk saw him at the home of the ectomancer Noemi Moretti, a fellow hunter with whom he had crossed paths before.
Smiling with thoughts of old memories, he reached out and knocked on the door.
Livoc dropped quickly and motioned for his companion to follow suit. He looked across and saw an olive skinned man that he knew as Javier Borbinhas, a hunter like him. Livoc turned back to the road after smiling at Javier in a slightly manic way. Javier returned the smile and, once Livoc was sure the danger was past, they moved onwards, taking great care about where they stepped. The forest floor was littered with dry leaves and twigs that could so easily give away their presence. Especially the kind of prey they were hunting. For Livoc and Javier were not hunters of any normal kind. Their targets were a pair of powerful magic users who had grown hungry for power. And thus they had both transformed themselves into great wolves and found that they loved the new power the transformation granted them. And to make matters worse the pair discovered that the hunting of men was much better than that of any local game.
And so it was that Livoc found himself in the deep Guadiana forest, just outside the City of Mertola in Portugal with a stranger, hunting highly dangerous and intelligent wolves. But Livoc was trained for this and so too was Javier. They had made quick progress through the trees and Livoc suspected that they were nearing the air of the wolves. It was just as the sun began to fall behind the horizon that the pair entered a clearing that contained a cluster of rocks that had been serving as a lair for the rouge pair of Hexenwulf. But Livoc had been stupid, he had not been concentrating and neither had Javier. For long before they reached the clearing the Hexenwulf had known of their presence and as the pair of hunters entered the clearing one of the wolves, a mighty black haired male, launched itself at Javier and ripped his throat in an instance. The red blood spilling upon the forest floor distracted the wolf for a second and Livoc reacted in a flash.
Within an instant he had the parchment in hand. He threw it to the floor and it erupted into flames and quickly burned up. With a strange bending of light Livoc seemed to multiply over and over till over a dozen copies of himself stood before the wolf. The wolf was stunned; this magic was new and unknown. That pause was all that Livoc needed. With a quick movement Livoc stepped forward and, with a flash of metal, drove his silver dagger into the spine of the Hexunwulf. With a grunt the wolf fell down dead. Livoc wiped his blade and turned to Javier’s corpse before remembering the second Hexunwulf. He turned but it was too late. With a snarl the wolf pounced and Livoc felt white-hot pain as fangs sank deep into his leg. The momentum of the wolf sent the pair flying backwards and landing in the dirt. Livoc’s vision faded slowly into black. The last thing he remembered before he fell to blackness was an arrow erupting from the side of the beasts head and its dead weight falling on top of him.
Livoc awoke in a strange room. A noise in the corner of the room drew his attention and he saw a young woman, folding clean bandages. She turns and catches his eye. Livoc tried to speak but found himself unable. He tried again and the girl quickly moved to his size. He finally managed to speak, but only in a low whisper.
“Where am I? What happened? Who brought me here?”
The girl replied as she set about replacing the bandages covering Livoc’s leg.
“This is the Northanger Abbey. I know not what happened to you. All I know is that a man, dressed in woodland garb, carrying a bow of curious make, dropped you off on the door step of the abbey you now rest in. he left a cryptic message, something about a man named Vladamir Prokofski calling for aid in
the city of Rome.”
Livoc smiled at the girl as she left the room, no doubt to get her superior. The mention of Vladamir shocked Livoc for he was certain that the man was dead. But if Prokofski wanted help then Livoc would be happy to do it. And even if it was just rumours, he had always wanted to visit Rome, even if he was likely to get burnt at the stake. Livoc smiled again before swinging his legs round and pulling himself up. The religious inhabitants of the Abbey had done an impressive job of healing his leg and he could support himself and walk at a slow pace. He found his pack and daggers lying nearby and picked them up before moving to the window and dropping down. He had one last look at the Abbey before turning and setting off into the forest.
When Livoc arrived at the Holy City he quickly made his way to the home of a local contact for the Mage's Council, an Ectomancer by the name of Noemi Moretti, hoping that she may have information on Vladamir's location.
I sat glumly at Abiron's dining table, chewing listlessly on a Loukoumade, a ball of dough dipped in honey and cinnamon. Failure, failure, failure. The words echoed around my skull. I stared vacantly at the table, the bustle of the city outside seeming distant and irrelevant. After a time, Abiron entered, his face was very pleased. "Henry my friend, I have very good news for you!" He cried, waving a small piece of paper at me.
"What-" I began, but Abiron answered my unfinished question.
"A letter, it is from my good friend, Vincenzo Skilini, he is in Italy. He has written a letter to me. I asked him about your hunters, because he is a hunter, aah," He clicked his fingers stumbling through english, trying to find the proper word. "A person who gives information."
"An informant?" I put forwards.
"Yes, this!" Abiron said exuberantly. He pushed forwards the letter and I drew my knife, slitting the paper open with practiced ease. I flicked open the letter, taking in the scrawling, italian text.
Al mio caro amico Abiron,
Io spero che Lei sia bene. Io sto scrivendo in risposta a Lei č richiesta per alcune informazioni riguardo a cacciatori o le loro ricerche e ha trovato molti pezzi di informazioni.
C'č prima, un numero crescente di 'innaturale' esseri a Roma, i loro attacchi stanno divenendo pił frequenti.
Secondo, io ho sentito diceria del ritorno di Vladamir Prokofski, un nome che la maggior parte di cacciatori saprą bene. Terzo, Prokofski sta chiamando in causa tanti cacciatori quanto lui. Questa č l'opportunitą che il Suo ragazzo sta aspettando, nella mia opinione. Prokofski č uno dei cacciatori pił rinomati in storia, la sua abilitą e secondo di dedicazione a nessuno. Il Suo ragazzo dovrebbe andare lą subito, per una citazione da Vladamir Prokofski non č declinato leggermente.
Se Lei desidera spedirlo lą, io posso sistemare per trasporto a Roma fra alcune settimane.
La buon fortuna e Dio sono con Lei il mio amico,
Though my Italian was patchy at best, I could work out that Vladamir Prokofski was in Rome and he was calling for hunters! Bubbling with excitement I gave Abiron a beaming smile, embraced him, then shot upstairs to get my things in order. Within a few days of receiving the letter, I was leaving Greece and heading off to Rome.
When I first reached the place, it astounded me with the several towering buildings within it's confines, the Colosseum and the Vatican were just two major eye-openers. I immediately began searching for Prokofski, thinking of all the glowing words my father and uncle had imparted to me about the legendary man.
"Never seen such a skilled hunter.", "His wits were the only thing quicker than his blade." Spurred by the burning desire to finally meet this iconic hunter, I searched Rome, asking anyone and everyone who might know of his whereabouts, to be greeted with continual disappointment. Everywhere I turned, everyone I asked, nothing and no one could impart any useful knowledge of his location. The best I got was the location of an abandoned warehouse which was supposedly where he was to be.
Burning with annoyance, I lodged myself in Rome, setting out every day and late into the night, learning my way around the city. After three weeks, I knew everything within a ten mile radius of my lodging and could direct myself from as far as twenty miles of my lodging with reasonable success. One day, as I searched through more fruitless leads, I happened upon a cafe, which seemed as good a place as any to satisfy my hunger and find a new source of information.
I lowered my hood as I entered the cafe, my eyes flickered across all of it's inhabitants. Finally, they rested on a dour looking man, a longsword at his side. He was staring grimly into a glass of wine, obviously deep in thought. I ordered some food from the waitress, my hunger gnawing at my insides. Whilst I ate I looked at the swordsman again. He was sitting comfortably in a state of readiness that I'd come to recognize in my years of training. I could tell when one person was subtly battle ready and the next was completely oblivious to a potential threat.
This man was either a sell sword, an off duty guard or soldier, a criminal or a supernatural creature, hidden in the guise of humanity. Henry's instincts told him that this last option was unlikely and the man seemed a little too young to be a guard or soldier with that degree of self-preparedness, though it wasn't impossible. This left two probable options, a mercenary or a hunter. Either way he may have knowledge on the whereabouts of Vladamir Prokofski, who had proved so illusive up until now.
The man, though how I could surmise this I do not know, appeared to be Irish. I approached him silently, subconsciously sliding my hands over my many concealed weapons, checking each one was in place, in case this person turned out to be hostile. Now I was closer, I could see his features more clearly, tall, dark haired and lean, this man looked a little under 30. He had high cheekbones, deep green eyes that were partially shadowed by the shadow that I cast over him, clearing my throat, I said tentatively.
"Excuse me, I'm Henry Cross, you wouldn't know anything about a Vladamir Prokofski, would you?"
I stood with baited breath, excitement welling up as it always did when I asked the question. I waited eagerly for his response.
Four days, four days he had been wandering through the streets of Rome, centre of the Church, one of the greatest powers in the world, even with the extra knowledge his true nature granted him imon knew this. Never before had one religion, one organisation, one man commanded such loyalty from those afraid of the eternal perdition they were threatened with. Hypocrisy, all of it. Never was a place of supposed purity so corrupt, even since Luther and the great Schism they hadn't learnt from their own sins. He'd already spotted four or five priests evidently planning to take advantage of the numerous whores in the streets. With every sight his lips had pursed with evident displeasure.
Never. He would never sink to such a level. He rubbed his hand reflexively, before looking down, he bit his lip and hesitated a moment before separating his hands. Thrusting them back inside his cloak, letting it fall down in front of him once again, concealing his robes from the rather less than watchful eyes of the armoured men wandering through the street. He just looked like any other traveller in the city, as long as he didn't look to furtive or attempted to look inconspicuous. There were more than enough Priests already pulling that one.
It was still here, the alleyway was small, shady and empty of people, doors lined it, though one was propped open. imon ducked under the lintel of the door. He'd heard about the shop, whose owner was rumoured to be knowledgable on the occult, hopefully these rumours might prove to be more concrete than those about Prokofski.
They were, barely had he cleared the stacks of musty yelowing pages than the man had greeted him, ushering him further into the shop. His quickfire Italian was hard to follow, imon hadn't visited Italy for many years, but he found that now he had to use it that it was returning gradually. Like riding a horse, you never forgot quite how to do it though it took a while to get back into the motions.
He was able to discern some sense from the man however, with some careful negotiation he discovered the man was in fact a dealer in the occult, it was a miracle he'd managed to survive in Rome. Unfortunately, the man didn't know of Prokofski, hadn't heard even a rumour of him, but he did have an address for someone who might. Frustrated, imon nonetheless thanked him and left with the small scrap of paper. After a few moments he tore it up and dropped it into a puddle at edge of the alley. He'd memorised the address in those few moments. It paid to have a good memory as a mage, getting a spell wrong in a dangerous situation was dangerous and often fatal.
|All times are GMT. The time now is 09:57 AM.|
Powered by the Emperor of Man.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise v2.6.0 Beta 4 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.